Fishing Rating: Hot Good Fair Poor
Bear Canyon Lake – Rating:
Bear Canyon Lake is steep, as well as deep. There is little shallow water, except at the upper end of the lake. Fish using small spinners and lures. If fishing off the bottom, avoid casting out too far where the water is very deep. Bait anglers should try fishing with a worm and bobber. Fly anglers using a float tube or kayak can find solitude at Bear Canyon Lake, especially on weekdays. However, fly-fishing from shore or wading is difficult because the tree line comes right to the water’s edge, and the water gets deep close to shore. Rainbow trout are stocked once in mid-September. Check out Bear Canyon Lake as your late summer fishing paradise.
Black Canyon Lake – Rating:
Trout have not been stocked since June. The lake currently contains illegally introduced green sunfish and largemouth bass; anglers are encouraged to catch and remove these species to help control their populations. There is no limit for bass and sunfish here.
CC Cragin (Blueridge) – Rating:
CC Cragin was stocked this spring and should be good fishing from a boat this fall using lures or cow bells with worms.
Chevelon Canyon – Rating:
Because of the difficult access, this lake is popular with float-tubers. Its deep canyon and well-forested edges make this lake a cool respite during the summer. Some lures to try are Kastmasters, Panther Martin spinners and Rapalas for stocked rainbows and wild brown trout. Fly-fishermen should try wooly buggers or wooly worms in black or brown colors, crayfish-colored patterns, and brown or black Simi Seal leeches, peacock ladies or other large streamers. Chevelon Canyon is stocked with fingerling trout in the spring and managed as a put-and-grow fishery.
Chevelon Canyon Lake is a hike-in or ATV accessible lake only, with a two trout limit and artificial fly/lure only regulations. As fall progresses, be careful of spawning brown trout upstream of the lake. Try not to target fish on redds or step on redds in the stream. This lake has a great population of wild browns. Protecting spawning fish will allow these populations to thrive.
Clear Creek Reservoir – Rating:
Rainbow trout stocked in spring should be fished out by now, though in a 2019 survey, stocked trout were found all the way up where Clear Creek comes into Clear Creek Reservoir. Instead, target warmwater species like largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish and common carp in areas with rocky structure or edge vegetation to provide cover. As daytime temperatures cool, even in Winslow, bass should be more mobile and active. Fish in the morning from a boat or kayak, cruise around and enjoy the unique geology through the middle of the day, and then catch the evening bite at night. Try small hooks with a worm and bobber near rocks and structure for sunfish. For bullhead and channel catfish, use bait on bottom such as worms and chicken livers, especially at night when catfish are most active.
Knoll Lake – Rating:
Knoll Lake was stocked with 18,000 Rainbow trout this spring/early summer. Fishing can be good in the fall on Knoll Lake.
Willow Springs Lake – Rating:
As daytime temperatures cool, water stratification breaks up and trout disperse throughout all depths. Willow Springs is stocked with catchable rainbow trout weekly until mid-September. Tiger trout were stocked in August and the beginning of September. Large numbers of trout remain uncaught into the fall and continue to provide excellent opportunity for anglers. Try Kastmasters, small Rapalas or Panther Martins for either species.
Fly fishermen should have luck with dry flies, dark colored wooly buggers, Semi Seal leeches, and nymphs. Shore anglers fishing for trout can try nightcrawlers or PowerBait. Green sunfish and smallmouth bass were illegally introduced to this lake. Try a small hook with a worm under a bobber, even during the hotter parts of the day.
Woods Canyon Lake – Rating:
Just like at Willow Springs Lake, water temperatures should be mixing and letting fish move freely into deep water. Large numbers of trout remain uncaught into the fall and continue to provide excellent opportunity for anglers. If fishing for trout from shore, try PowerBait or worms. Fly anglers may have luck on dry flies or small nymphs right at sunset. Boaters can try trolling a Super Duper or tiny gold Kastmaster lures.
The lake is loaded with crayfish; try fishing for large trout with spinners or lures that imitate crayfish patterns. Fish for illegally stocked green sunfish along the rocky shore with nightcrawlers. Woods Canyon Lake is stocked weekly throughout September with rainbow trout. Tiger trout were stocked in August.
Becker Lake – Rating:
Becker Lake can only be fished with artificial flies and lures with a single point barbless hook, catch and release trout only. Big Rainbow and Tiger Trout lurk along the weed beds on the south end, but can be found in the middle of the lake by boat and float tube as well. Flies to try are midges, Prince Nymph, brown Montana stone and KP bugger. There is limited opportunity for shore fishing and wading especially due to low water, but there is a floating fishing pier that is handicapped accessible. Spin fishermen can try Z-rays, small Kastmasters or Panther Martins with the treble replaced with a single point barbless hook.
In early fall, fishing is best in the morning before the wind picks up and evenings after the monsoon storms have passed. In late fall when daytime temperatures are cool, all day can be very productive. Illegally introduced Largemouth Bass can also be found in this lake and anglers are encouraged to harvest bass to help the trout populations.
Big Lake – Rating:
Cooling daytime temperatures and afternoon monsoon storms are helping to break up algae blooms and improve visibility in Big Lake. Big Lake is not deep enough to develop a thermocline and cannot “break up” in the fall. Murky water and poor visibility are due to algae blooms, not sediment being disturbed from the bottom. Anglers should see increased bite as the weather cools and trout become more active.
Bait and shore fishermen can try anything from worms to PowerBait. Fishing from a boat is generally more successful in the early fall than fishing from the shoreline, when the fish move into deep, cooler water. As temperatures cool, trout will be found in shallower water, but shore angling remains difficult due to low water levels. Boaters should try trolling spinners and flies. Rainbow Trout often forage on bottom, while Cutthroat may be a couple feet higher in the water column. To attract Cutthroat, use lures that resemble crayfish or their movement. Brook Trout will hit flies, but also try nightcrawlers on the bottom.
Greer Lakes (Bunch, Tunnel, River) – Rating:
River typically will have the most water, the longest into the fall before filling again. Water rights are owned by the irrigation company and the lake levels get extremely low during the summer. When the lakes begin filling again in the fall, fish near the inflows where the water is the most fresh. Try insect and crayfish mimic flies and lures flowing in with the fresh water.
Trolling flies, such as brown or black wooly buggers, or spinners is likely to work well in River Reservoir. Sometimes there’s good surface action in the evenings; try hoppers or nymphs under a hopper in the early fall when insects are active. As fall progresses, be careful of spawning Brown Trout upstream of the lake. Try not to target fish on redds or step on redds in the stream. This lake has a great population of wild browns. Protecting spawning fish will allow these populations to thrive.
This fishery is one of the best locations to catch large Brown Trout in the state! Currently, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is doing a project with the Brown Trout population of River Reservoir to assess population, movement and harvest numbers. Each fish that is part of this study has been tagged with a plastic floy tag that has an identification number that currently ranges from 1 – 500. Anglers are encouraged to treat these fish as they normally would and are allowed to harvest these tagged fish as usual. If you do catch a tagged trout please call 928-532-3860 to report the catch with the ID number on the tag.
Carnero Lake – Rating:
Fishing from the shoreline or using spinners or lures is difficult at this lake because of the weeds. The best way to fish is from a small boat, canoe or float tube. Fly fish for Rainbow Trout and Tiger Trout with wooly buggers, prince nymphs or light-colored nymphs in open areas. The water is deepest near the islands on the north end of the lake. Water quality will only improve throughout the fall as cooler daytime temperatures and afternoon monsoons cool things down. Access is still difficult and requires a slog out into the mud to get a float tube or kayak in. Carnero won’t fill back up until winter storms, so put your chest waders on and fish!
See the pdf file for the remainder of the lakes in the White Mountains region:
*Note: The entry on the pdf file for Little Colorado River – Sheep’s Crossing/West Fork is incorrect. The river will be stocked through mid-September and cooling water temperatures will help improve fishing. Fishing for wild Apache Trout will be even better if you’re willing to hike upstream. Try dry flies like a Parachute Adams or small nymphs such as a Hare’s Ear. Small lures or PowerBait can be effective as well.
Black River – East fork
Black River – West fork
Little Colorado River
Show Low Creek
Show Low Creek meadows
Show Low Lake
*Community fishing lakes